PDA

View Full Version : Facial Animation


plsyvjeucxfw
09-04-2006, 07:06 PM
As we discuss various ways to enhance EI's character animation, it's looking like .mdd files (Motion Designer) might be the best way to go.

The following is just incredible:

http://ta-animation.macreitercreations.com/FA/FA_WorkingEnv_01.mpg

If we could work like that, then get EIAS to render the results, it would change EVERYTHING!

Vizfizz
09-04-2006, 07:32 PM
This is certainly not out of the range of possibility, but an enhancement to EI this sophisticated would probably take many months, maybe longer to implement. How could something like this be broken down into smaller tool tasks that could be achieved over time to give the user a sense of progress without EI going into an upgrade cycle that could take up to a year to complete?

What kind of modifications could be done to our existing morph editor? Since this is the closest thing we have to anything like that, there must be ways we can improve upon it.

As for .mdd files. Paralumino is working on a method to import/export vertex data on a frame by frame basis between packages, but due to potential issues with fact file format and the way EIAS perceives the number of vertices, .mdd might not work for us. Our first exchange is planned between Max and EI. If it succeeds, and is well received, other platforms could be supported.

I take it this facial animation tool exports out .mdd files?

plsyvjeucxfw
09-05-2006, 05:10 AM
I take it this facial animation tool exports out .mdd files?

http://www.kazeghostwarrior.com/FA/

Yep. Apparently the guy behind this is Timothy Albee, a Lightwave artist with lots of production credits to his name. He worked with a programmer, Mac Reiter, to develop the software. (Sound familiar? Skillful artists working with gifted programers, i.e. paralumino). Since Lightwave is this Timothy guy's home turf, and since it supports .mdd files, that's one of two ways to get your stuff out.

Once you're happy with your animation, you can mix-down your data to a platform independent .MDD file, or export to LightWave's Morph Mixer format!

As far as EI not being this sophisticated, I doubt anything else is. I'm only hoping that EI could make use of this format. I realize that it will be problematic, perhaps even hopeless, but if you can create a base model in say, Silo, then port over to .fact, could the .mdd data be converted into morph targets? Could the .mdd data be used to drive a difference engine and put out a series of corrected .fact files for group cycling?

As I understand it, .mdd sounds like a point cloud object, with vertex data and little else. Still, with some work might there be a way?

FelixCat
09-07-2006, 08:50 PM
This TAFA app seems impressive! makes me droll like a bulldog... something like this is the tipe of plugin that we need for CA in EiAS. Sadly works only in PC and Lightwave.
TAFA= US$ 500 more or less
Lightwave= US$ 1000 more or less
.mdd to port the animation to EiAS= US$ ?
Seems that to pay around US$ 1000 for something like this app en EiAS is fair enough...
Oh, well...
:o

FelixCat

plsyvjeucxfw
09-08-2006, 03:09 AM
I agree (Drooling that is!).

There may be hope yet. The software's actual designer/coder is --

Mac Reiter

http://www.macreitercreations.com/

and he indicates he's working on a Mac OSX build of the software. Mr. Reiter is also working on output formats to support platforms other than LW. These include Poser, XSI, and Maya.

There's also this:

I have now had a user go completely non-LW with TAFA! Using the OBJ loader, MDD files, and Point Oven Pro, one of my users has been able to use TAFA with 3DS Max without needing any intermediate LW steps.

So more investigating to see what the possiblities are! Sequential OBJ's to Sequential FACTS? Need to do some more surfing around.

FelixCat
09-08-2006, 04:19 PM
Thanks, Mark. I look in the Macs site and give me hopes!
Maybe im oversimplyfying the work but i think translating the animation from TAFA to EiAS could be no so complex. Aparently TAFA can produce some kind of text file...
Roughly put, an facial animation is:
MorphTarget basic... Morph to... MorphTarget smile (in 20 frames)...Morph to... MorphTarget starin (in 15 frames) and so on
Maybe this kind of instructions could be simpler than per vertex instructions etc.
Probably im saying nosense, im not a programmer, hardly can make my checkbook. :)

FelixCat

AVTPro
09-11-2006, 04:17 AM
What kind of modifications could be done to our existing morph editor? Since this is the closest thing we have to anything like that, there must be ways we can improve upon it.


That's a trick question right?


Let me take a stab at answering this one. :)

http://www.ramjac.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=37

A simple button to the morph target window to interpolate multiple targets on one slider??
Maybe the ablity to add other targets anytime during the animation for better definition?
This vastly improves EI's FA cablities.

I checked out the video.Nice. Looks like Magpie 3D or Picon morpher, not really that new. Mainstream CA tools are already doing this or something very similiar for a long time. A lot of this looks doable with XP or better yet a very useful CA plugin. All efforts for better CA would fall short without smooth eyelids. Blink is the first step towards better CA tools in EI with the Morph Target window. However, it should be built into the EI interface. Still I'm happy is a free solution. :)



Paralumino is working on a method to import/export vertex data on a frame by frame basis between packages, but due to potential issues with fact file format and the way EIAS perceives the number of vertices, .mdd might not work for us. Our first exchange is planned between Max and EI. If it succeeds, and is well received, other platforms could be supported.


Why not Maya instead. Max to EI? Is there such a thing as a Max/EI user? Wouldn't it better serve to open EI up to Maya users first? and why not use FBX?
You saw my last project Brian. You know where I am coming from. FBX is incredible. Maya/FBX/EIAS got me a new MacPro on barter.

I would forget Maya as a renderer if I could get a smooth imported cloth animation. Ei needs to address verts and Igors are the ones to do it. However, who want's a 5 gigs of single fact file for one 40 second cloth sim on their drive? It would be nice if one Fact geometry is used and the verts were animated or morph interpolation can be caches/recompress out from the multiple files..then the hugh data sets can be trashed because the vertices has been interpolated into one file or morphed.

I say to heck with the old EI fact format. Change it if necessary regardless how an EI upgrades handles old fact projects. It just another excuse to be stuck in the past.

Vizfizz
09-11-2006, 05:24 AM
Hi Alonzo,

I share your enthusiasm for Maya, FBX, and EI working as a team. Its a great combination. Our vertex importer/exporter, known as gNome, is still in an experimental stage. Max was chosen over Maya only because of the Igors' familiarity with Max. Since I'm a big Maya user you know I'll want to see gNome for Maya as well. However, here's the reality Paralumino is facing:

Paralumino is a private venture. We exist for three primary reasons:

1. To assist EIAS advance in marketshare within the CG community.
2. To enjoy what we do and gain satisfaction by bringing new tools and training to the EIAS community.
3. To become a successful business.

#1 & 2 are quite obtainable. We feel that Paralumino is capable of making considerable advancements for the EI community, thus increasing EIAS' desirability in the CG marketplace. We have a large number of plugin ideas that I would love to share with you, however, as you can imagine...this work doesn't come free. Its #3 that I need to focus on now.

We are about to release two more plugins that will complete our initial Phase 1 toolset. Phase 1 consists of:

Geometry Tools:
Trestle v1: (2d Polylines & Polygon generation tools)
Revolver: (Lathing tools)
Scrim: (Lofting tools)
Braider: (Surface Conformity tools)
Swage: (Path Extrusion tools - Coming Soon)

Our free tools include:
Path2Line: (Bezier path to polyline conversion tool)
Wiremaker: (Geometry to polyline conversion tool)
Superlines: (Enhanced volumemetric line shader)
Runline: (Polyline dash utility - Coming Soon)

Shaders:
Multicaustics (Chromatic aberation)

Videos:
Hyper Glass (Glass tutorial)

That's 10 software tools and a video in only 9 to 10 months. Pretty good. Phase 1 is intended to patch some gaps in the EIAS workflow. They may sound basic, but any user that utilizes these tools can attest how nice it is to be able to generate geometry within Animator itself. Our intent isn't to replace a more sophisticated external modeler, but to improve Animator's ability to generate and manipulate geometry within the package that is unlike anything that has existed within EIAS before. However, now I have to recoup that investment. My contract with the Igors isn't free and in order to move on into production of our advanced toolset, I need to recoup my investment on Phase 1 and that means selling plugins. Once I've obtained my sales quota, you can rest assured that I'll be contracting the Igors again to complete phase 2. Some of which I'm sure you'd be interested in.

Phase 2, in addition to more advanced tools, will include more training videos. Another method to help finance additional tools.

AVTPro
09-11-2006, 08:09 AM
Thanks for the response Brian.

I will go through the free list and pop any free plugs onto the MacPro just to keep up with your developments.

10 months??

Wow..your guys are almost as fast as me? it's been quite a year. I hope you continue and much success.

I have few idea that would be useful as well. How much to rent Igors?

Anyway, any plans to keep EI in the pipe is great. I thought I would be steering away from EIAS but now with a faster Mac...it's really looking good again. I will be getting more RAM tomorrow ...as well as get back to the Platter so...who knows.

Maybe we can collab one day!

Alonzo

mike33
09-15-2006, 03:31 AM
Hi All,

I just came across Scott McClouds latest book: "Making Comics".

See: http://www.scottmccloud.com/makingcomics/

I'm still reading the book but it looks like it has a great chapter on facial expressions [pg 80] that would go hand in hand with Gary Faigin's book "Facial Expression". I think anyone doing character animation would probably find Scott's book very helpful.

So if you happen to be by a comic book store check it out.
[Modern Myths in Northampton, MA had few copies last week]

Cheers,

Mike

PS and don't forget the 24 hour comic marathon is coming:
http://www.24hourcomics.com/

CGTalk Moderation
09-15-2006, 03:31 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.